A Dangerous Holiday & An Excellent Film

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I love holiday novels. I’ve read several already and am waiting for the “Dangerous Holiday” box set with six Christmas novels, including my Blue Lake Christmas Mystery, which I still love. The box set also includes romantic suspense holiday novels written by some of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors. I am looking forward to reading those! The price is so good, too. $3.99 for six novels. It’s up for pre-sale at Amazon now and will be available on November 8. I have been waiting patiently.

I1000662_671145639691748_3695067060258692717_nn other news I’m writing like a madwoman for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m meeting my daily word count, even with a day off yesterday for a date with my husband. We went out to dinner and then saw Bohemian Rhapsody with Rami Malek. We were both intrigued by Malek from his television series, Mr. Robot. The guy’s acting is compelling, so when we heard he was playing Freddy Mercury we just had to see it. I did not know Freddy was from Zanzibar, but I did know Rami is of Egyptian descent. That signified to me that he would nail it. With a set of false teeth for Freddy’s overbite, he was perfect.  P. S. It was a really great date.

Goodreads Holiday Giveaway & More

 

 I love reading Christmas novels so much I wrote one of my own last year. This year, beginning November 8, for a limited time, I’ll be giving away 10 signed print copies of my 2016 novella Blue Lake Christmas Mystery on Goodreads. If you love reading on your Kindle like I do, Amazon has Blue Lake Christmas Mystery on special for 99 cents beginning Friday, November 3 and continuing for two weeks.
While I can only do a 99 cent sale on the Kindle titles my publisher owns. The Wild Rose Press is in charge of that. But for Goodreads, it’s very easy to do these giveaways, for me and for you. Goodreads does all the work. They list the title in their giveaway section and choose ten random winners. Then they send me the names and addresses and I ship the books to the ten winners.
Not on Goodreads? It’s easy to join, through Facebook or just by going to the site. I’m an avid reader, so I love visiting Goodreads. I have an author page there, too, but I use Goodreads more to see what others are saying about a book I just read or am thinking of reading. It’s like an always available book group!

The Character Who Never Leaves

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I should have known from the minute she elbowed her way into Blue Heaven, acting like she owned the joint, that Lily would be trouble. She was 17 and secretive, a minor character who thought she should have a bigger part. I gave her a love interest, but it turned out she had issues with boys.

I thought I ended Lily’s story at the end of that first book in my Blue Lake series. She was safely away at college in book two, but came barreling back with vengeance on her mind in book three. I had a hard time deciding which of my two female characters would take the lead. I hadn’t meant it to be Lily, but damn that messed up woman was fun to write.

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By the fourth book, even though she left town, her name and her story stole a few scenes. I’d promised her her own book–I even tried to write it–but it was so dark I had to take a mental health break and write a light fun Christmas story. I thought about dumping the Lily chapters I’d started before my most recent release, but my critique group, who have more influence on me than I’d like to admit, would not hear of it.

I’d set myself a challenge with Lily’s story and I needed to see it through. It’s about done now, well at least a workable draft is almost there. But I keep thinking about where and how I want Lily to end up. I want to do right by her. I want to give her the peace she’s been seeking for so long. So I’m taking my time with the denouement. Not that it will be a lot of pages, but it will be the right way to leave this woman, now in  her mid-30s, who I’ve been following for most of her adult life.

It might seem strange to say I’m following a character I created. But that’s what I do. I know some writers would roll their eyes at that. Who’s writing the story, anyway? Well, here’s the truth: it’s me and then it’s not me. It’s a part of myself I only access when I’m writing. It’s where my imagination goes when I get quiet inside and try to keep up with characters like Lily.

Christmas Wishes

Today is the worldwide release of my latest novel for The Wild Rose Press, Blue Lake Christmas Mystery. Writing a Christmas novel has long been a dream of mine and finally last year I did it. There were some surprises along the way, like the dead body at the holiday party. But I cracked on, as my British friend Ali would say, and Blue Lake Christmas turned into Blue Lake Christmas Mystery.

This is the first time my publisher has positioned one of my books in their mystery imprint, which is kind of thrilling as I love reading mysteries as much as Christmas stories. And that’s my advice to anyone who wants to write a book: ask yourself what you love to read, and then write a book like that. Otherwise, it won’t be half the fun.

fullsizeoutput_1820Tomorrow, in a bit of serendipity that feels like a Christmas blessing, I’ll be at a book signing…at a holiday art and craft fair. I could not have planned it better if I had worked for a year to organize such a happening. I did plan to be at the event, but I had no idea my book would be released in time for the fair.

In another sort of holiday miracle, here I am again after four months of writing my “last post.” :)) Not saying I’m going to be writing every week again, but I do have some pretty exciting adventures ahead in 2017 and I’ve been thinking they’d be fun to blog about.

I’ll be in my new house in Florida for the winter months. Al will join me in January for a few weeks, but then he has to come back to Michigan to work. So I will be on my own entirely until he returns in March. We have only ever been apart for a few days in our 31 years of marriage, so it will be quite a challenge. I rely on him for so much. As he relies on me. So each of us will have to manage on our own for those winter months.

My idea is to write about the highs and lows of that journey, so watch this space.

Meanwhile, happy holidays.

 

 

Messy Manuscript Revision

Am in the middle of revising and things are chaotic. Actually had to buy a monitor because of all the cut and paste and rearranging going on. The little laptop screen was just not getting the job done.

This is normal for a novel drafted in a month with daily word counts. I shall not panic. I will, as Jennifer Cruise says, protect the work. Jenny is my go-to guide for revision, both the process and how to fit it into life when things feel a bit frayed. I’m at the point just now where I feel like one tug and the fabric might become a mess of threads that don’t make whole cloth.

Tortured metaphors aside, I have a few things I do in times like this (besides the unwise decision to buy new electronics during Mercury retrograde, but that’s another story). I cut back my schedule to bare bones. Make a commitment to show up at my desk every day. I don’t give up, take days off, or skip away to social media. Or if I do…I come right back.

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I protect the work. I make it primary. I also outline, create a calendar, and micro-manage my plot. This time the plot was lopsided. My original goal was not big enough to sustain my interest for the entire novel (and if it can’t sustain my interest it will not click with the critique group or those distant readers in the future) so late in the story I added a layer to the plot. This new layer greatly improved things but it made the structure wobble.

Paper clips and turning points (Jenny on turning points) are my friends as I read the entire manuscript, outline the way the scenes need to be realigned, consult my story calendar to keep sequence of events straight. I spread the entire book (in paper-clipped scene-sized chunks) all over the floor. Then I stack them up front to back. Every day I take the next paper-clipped scene and move it to its new position within the document. I’m not so much concerned with the loose threads that need to be edited to smooth things out at the end–I can catch those in the next read through, after the book is re-ordered in some semblance of how it appears in my head.

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The bonus for working daily and consistently on a story this way is that you’ll get little hints and helps. Last night I came up with a solution to a motivation problem. Why should my protagonist care about goal A when goal B is now compelling her action? The answer was elegant and simple and will be easy to incorporate at this point in revision.

When I show up for my work this way, the universe conspires in happy and surprising ways. If you’ve got a mess of a manuscript on your hands, it may help you, too.